Pacific islands organics body makes headway
One of the outcomes of the POETCom (Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community) meeting held in French Polynesia <!--more-->in early May is the establishment of an advisory board to take the organics body forward in achieving its vision: ‘Pacific organics – the key contributor to sustaining our cultures and improving farmer livelihoods, communities, people’s health and our environment.’
POETCom members from ten Pacific Island countries attended, representing different services along the organic and ethical trade value chain, from smallholders to exporters, certifiers and ministries of agriculture.
An FAO Technical Cooperation Programme helped facilitate a governance structure for POETCom. Last month’s meeting elected the first POETCom advisory board, comprising Mr Anthony Brown (Chair), Director of Agriculture, Cook Islands; Mr Stephen Hazelman, Samoa; Mr Gilles Tehau Parzy, French Polynesia; Mr Nambo Moses, Vanuatu; and Ms Vanessa Lolohea, Tonga. The Board will be elected every two years at the general assembly of POETCom members.
The advisory board is tasked with ensuring good governance and management of the regional organic guarantee system, which was also moved forward at the meeting, with the objective of facilitating increased access to various forms of organic certification to the Pacific Organic Standard.
One of the primary tasks of the advisory board will be to raise awareness of POETCom and the work of the organic and ethical trade movement at national level, and expand the base of membership and interest.
The French Pacific Fund of the Government of French Polynesia, with assistance provided by the EU-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodities Trade (IACT) project, funded the meeting.
The meeting also addressed issues such as biodiversity, climate change, and food and nutritional security.